I was sitting with a group of friends at a local sushi restaurant the other day, semi-ingesting their various conversations while the other part of my consciousness was busy freaking out about what my first article for Fandomania would consist of.
As I sat there eating my white tuna doused in ample soy sauce, I started to focus on random topics going on amongst the table: comic books, video games, iPods and iPads, anime, [adult swim] cartoons, jokes about our charisma modifiers. It was a cornucopia of geekery and misfit conversation to which some might turn up an eyebrow after hearing. It made me wonder how it all came to be. How did a young woman like me get mixed up in what high school trend setters and the “popular crowd” considered “the pit of nerddom”? As far as I’m aware, I didn’t pop out of my mom’s baby-maker holding a copy of Pac-Man or the DM’s guide, so the origin of my geeky glee had to have come from some outside source — but where?
I personally blame my nerd-like-tendencies on my mother. I’m sure somewhere between the ages of 0 and 10, she had ample opportunity to plant the seeds of social inadequacy deep within my soul, but the one thing which sticks out the most in my mind is the day she got me my first comic book. That day marked the beginning of the end of any chance I would have in life to be a part of the social norm.
It was Wolverine issue #27, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. My little 10-year-old brain soaked all the violence and back-story in like a little impressionable sponge. After that it was X-Men, Spider-Man, and Batman. Over the years I discovered other less popular comics which were probably highly inappropriate for a girl between the ages of 10 to 15. Heck, I even remember my mom bringing me Heavy Metal Magazine when I was still in High School simply because she thought the art looked cool. The poor lady had no freaking clue what she was putting in her daughter’s hands!
I once asked my mother what the heck she was thinking buying me comics — mostly comics with soft-core pornographic content in them. You know what her answer was?
“I just really wanted you to read more.”
Her simple parental reasoning of “wanting her child to read more” left an impact on my life more so than she could have ever imagined. It opened an entirely different world up to me. Sure, I was exposed to comics, video games, and other things during different time periods of my life, but it was my mom who was the main catalyst to all my nerdy interests. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have gotten into comics, or video games for that matter, and my interest in those things led me to discover authors like H.P. Lovecraft and Robert A. Heinlein, games like Dungeons and Dragons, and even anime and manga.
Years later, in adulthood, I can look back on my mom and realize she was a bit of a nerd herself, so it’s no wonder she chose comics as her medium to get me to read. When she was a child she loved the The Lord of The Rings novels, and I fondly remember her watching movies like Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans — movies I still love to this day. Things like that shaped her childhood, and in many ways they trickled down and shaped mine.
I think everyone has a person who shaped them, inspired them, or tormented them into their nerdy glory. Whether it’s your mother buying you comics, or your jerky older brother saying you can’t join his weekly Dungeons and Dragons campaign, we’ve all had our muses. So they next time you’re in a comic shop, or buying Call of Duty 5000, remember the people who got you into your hobbies in the first place. Sometimes it’s just nice to sit back and reminisce how your inner nerd came to be.